Kari Lloyd
Frightened feral cat peering out

There are few things that tug at your heartstrings harder than a lost, abandoned or stray animal. When animals live in the wild long enough — or are unlucky enough to be born that way — they can become feral. This is particularly true of cats. While amazingly resilient, feral cats are susceptible to attacks, exposure, hunger or injury. Many feral cats are not spayed or neutered, meaning they can breed more kittens creating a colony situation. So what can you do if you spot a potential feral cat issue?

Ask Around: Feral Cats or Not?

Many times, what you may think is a feral cat could just be lost and longing to find their owners. Try taking photos of the cat and posting it to your neighborhood groups, or asking at your apartment community's office. More than likely they will have information on cat owners in the neighborhood or be able to assist you by sending out an email. You can also photocopy some fliers and put them up around the neighborhood.

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Provide Food & Water

If you get no response from your inquiries, chances are the cat is going to be hungry and thirsty. Try putting out some food and water for the cat to help it to trust you. This can help with trapping later in the process, and can also ensure that they don't attack local wildlife like birds.

Speak to Your Local Vet or Shelter

Veterinarians and local no-kill shelters can give you a wealth of information on how to help feral cats in your community, including loaning traps, offering care suggestions, or helping identify if your new furry buddy is actually just lost and looking for their parents. Many vets and shelters will also offer you assistance on Trap Neuter Return programs.

Trap, Neuter and Return Programs

One of the best resources for all things feral and cat-related is The Kitten Lady (real name: Hannah Shaw). Hannah has dedicated her life to finding innovative ways to protect animals, and her site and YouTube videos are a treasure trove of invaluable advice for those who love cats. Trap, Neuter, and Return programs are one of the most humane ways you can help your local furry friends and prevent future colonies from forming.

What About Abandoned Kittens?

Abandoned kittens are a sad fact of life. Many times, particularly in spring, litters of kittens are abandoned by humans or sometimes by circumstances surrounding the mama cat. Kittens on their own don't have a great chance of survival, so it's important to know what to do if you want to intervene. Learn more on what you can do and how you can help:

Don't Give Up

The problem won't be solved overnight, and helping out these vulnerable cats takes time. Keep an eye on them and don't be afraid to contact your local shelter or vet with questions. More than likely they've been through this before and can help clarify any strange situations or questions.

Have you ever encountered stray or feral cats in your community? What did you do? Let's hear your stories and advice below!

SEE ALSO: Pet Articles



About The Author

Kari Lloyd has been a freelance writer for over 15 years. A Chicago native and recent transplant to Atlanta, Kari spent 10 years living in London, UK where she worked as a music journalist and restaurant reviewer.